November 02, 2014

Will Souls to the Polls be a boom or bust for Charlie Crist?

@MarcACaputo et al

Sunday was for spiritual as well as political salvation, a day in Florida politics for “Souls to the Polls.”

The last day for in-person early voting, Sunday is a time when black voters have flexed their political muscle and cast ballots in droves after church. The lift was heavy Sunday: help the Democratic Party — and especially Charlie Crist — eat into Republicans’ 126,000 lead in casting pre-Election Day ballots.

In a nod to black voters’ importance, Crist campaigned with Vice President Joe Biden at Mount Hermon AME Church in Fort Lauderdale. Pastors throughout Tampa Bay urged the faithful to go vote. Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton respectively stumped in Jacksonville and Miami.

Miami-Dade saw nearly 16,500 voters Sunday, a 53 percent increase from Saturday. And Broward’s increase in a day was larger still: 60 percent, to 19,802.

Republicans, unlike in past years, were determined not to let Democrats run up the score on Sunday. Gov. Rick Scott visited First Baptist Church Piney Grove in Lauderdale Lakes. Scott then rallied with Jeb Bush in Miami-Dade’s heavily Hispanic Republican city of Hialeah.

“Charlie Crist has gotta go,” Bush said to wild applause, joking a moment later that “my mother didn’t want me to say that.” Bush later told reporters that Scott has “kept his word. His opponent is someone who will say anything, do anything to get elected.”

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PPP: Rick Scott and Charlie Crist tied at 44 percent, medical marijuana dying

@MarcACaputo

It has been said for months that the Florida governor's race will go down to the wire, that no candidate leads outside the margin of error in any reputable poll.

Now comes Public Policy Polling to put an exclamation on that with a poll showing Gov. Rick Scott and Charlie Crist tied at 44 percent each.

"We don't believe in reporting to decimal points but the one time we make an exception is tied final polls- Crist 44.0, Scott 43.8," PPP said on Twitter. "To give you an idea of just how this close this final Florida poll came out- 526 respondents picked Crist, 524 picked Scott."

PPP also finds medical marijuana dying at 53 percent, well below the 60 percent needed to pass a constitutional amendment.

Libertarian Adrian Wyllie "is hurting Crist," PPP reported. "His supporters say they'd pick Crist over Scott 43/18. Take Wyllie out and Crist leads Scott 47/46."

A look at the crosstabs shows that PPP has a similar finding to Quinnipiac University: a big advantage that Crist has among independents, 13 percentage points in this cast. The crosstabs:

     Overall      GOP       DEM         IND
Scott  44% 81% 18% 28%
Crist 44% 12% 76% 41%
Wyllie 6% 4% 3% 13%

As has been stated in the past, PPP is liberal-leaning but has generally produced pretty on-point polls. It is a robo-polling firm, so it primarily surveys people who have landlines and thus it could lean slightly conservative owing to its technological limits (cellphone voters tend to be more liberal, etc.). Also, PPP doesn't call off a voter list; respondents self-identify. So its polls need to be pegged to self-ID polls (such as exit polls). That's a disclaimer for all you unskewers who will say the independents are too high. They're not, judging by past exit polls.

PPP's survey was 39 percent Democcrat, 37 percent GOP and 23 percent independent. If you average the last two exit polls for the last two midterms, it would yield an R-D-I of 38-36-26 percent. Apply that to PPP's crosstabs, and the race would still be well within the margin of error: Scott 45 percent, Crist 43 percent.

For the last post unskewing the polling, click here. For more on polls in this race, click on the Polls tab here. Here's the PPP poll:  Download FLResults 

 

Biden speaks about civil rights, voting rights at black church

Charlie Crist gave a brief introduction before Vice President Joe Biden spoke at Mout Hermon, a black church in Fort Lauderdale, Sunday afternoon.

“You can early vote up until 4 o’clock,” Crist said, shortly before 3 p.m. “ I heard some tried to make it a little longer but you know how things go sometimes in Florida. ... I’m on your side and Rick’s not.”

(Here is our background about Broward’s late attempt to extend early voting which was rejected by the state.)

Biden reflected back on the civil rights movement and efforts to desegregate movie theaters, push for voting access and fighting housing discrimination. He quoted Dr. Martin Luther King’s words from the Selma jail, African-American poet Maya Angelou and said he was here to deliver a simple message from President Obama:

“He has had your back, you’ve got to have his back. ...  Give him some governors he can work with.”

Biden bashed Scott for “eviscerating” education and for giving tax breaks to the wealthy and for trying to reduce voting access.

He said that Scott made “repeated efforts to make it harder for ya’ll to vote,” Biden said.

In 2011 under Scott, Florida reduced early voting but after the long lines in 2012 the state overhauled the voting law in 2013.

While waiting for Biden, U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the DNC chair from Weston, criticized Scott for education cuts and for the failure of the state to expand Medicaid. Scott initially opposed expanding Medicaid, later flip flopped in support of it but didn’t lobby for it and the Legislature rejected it.

Crist is hoping that Democrats in South Florida turn out at higher numbers than they did in 2010 when Alex Sink lost to Scott. Through Saturday, Broward’s turnout was about 21 percent but the full turnout won’t be known until Tuesday night.

Sen. Chris Smith, D-Fort Lauderdale, acknowledged Broward’s poor showing during the last governor’s race. But he expressed optimism that Broward will turn out in greater numbers this time.

“Four years ago we did not turn out like we should have,” he said. “The numbers this year are up in Broward County.”

Broward has surpassed early and absentee voting from 2010 days before election day. But a key question remains unknown: are more Broward voters turning out simply before election day or will overall turnout in Broward be higher than in the past? Broward turnout was 41 percent in 2010.

After Biden speaks, Crist plans to march with Democratic voters from New Hope Community Church, another nearby Fort Lauderdale church, to the early voting site at the African-American Research Library and Cultural Center.

Through Saturday, the library has been nearly in the middle in terms of turnout among the 20 early voting sites. The most crowded sites have been at sites in Coral Springs, Tamarac and Pembroke Pines.

Joe Biden to Miami Hispanics: 'This is your election'

@PatriciaMazzei

IMG_3428 (1)Democrats welcomed Joe Biden -- or rather, José Biden, as he was introduced by U.S. Rep. Joe Garcia -- to Miami on Sunday as part of a final appeal to voters to go to the polls Sunday and cast their ballots for Garcia for Congress and Charlie Crist for governor.

The vice president held court, speaking at length in an appeal to Hispanics and the middle class. He received the most applause when he referred to Republican Gov. Rick Scott.

"He says when asked about climate change, 'I'm not a scientist.' But he sure as hell thinks he's a doctor when he tells women what to do," Biden said.

The crowd was enthusiastic, though the 200 or so people did not fill the auditorium at Florida International University. The intended audience, though, were voters watching TV at home.

There weren't enough chairs to go around when the politicians walked on stage. So Biden, after initially sitting down, gave up his seat to Crist's wife, Carole. He joked with supporters behind him and played up the personal anecdotes when he took the microphone.

Hispanics, Biden said, could determine this and future national elections if they vote in proportion to the size of their population.

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3m in FL have voted; GOP leads by 126k ballots as Dems close gap to 4.3%

@MarcACaputo

There's a good chance that half of the 2014 ballots have already been cast now that 3 million Floridians have voted absentee or at early voting stations in person.

This morning's data (complaicated by the fact that five* of 67 counties have not updated yet) shows Republicans still holding a lead over Democrats in ballots cast, but it's not as strong as it used to be.

GOP lead over Democrats: 125,623, or 4.3 percentage points. Yesterday morning's lead: 133,521, or 4.8 percentage points.

So Democrats have narrowed the raw vote gap back almost to where it was on Monday, Oct. 20 when in-person early voting began: 123,502. In percentage terms, the margin was more daunting: 14 points.

Democrats are hoping for a big early vote turnout today, but polls close at 4 p.m. In Democrat-rich Broward County, Elections Supervisor Brenda Snipes might want the polls opened longer today. Only Gov. Rick Scott can do that and, if 2012 is any indication, he'll say no. Democrat Charlie Crist is playing up the contrast, noting how he kept polls open longer in 2008, in contrast to Scott. This could help fire up Democrats heading into Election Day in South Florida, but considering they haven't flocked in huge numbers to the polls so far, it's anyone's guess.

Prior posts can be found through the Florida Voters tab here, and here are the early vote, absentee and combined totals followed by a graphic of how Democrats have narrowed the gap in percentage terms.

PARTY          EV           %
REP         492,025 40.6%
DEM         504,120 41.6%
IND         214,633 17.7%
TOTAL       1,210,778  
     
     
PARTY          AB's            %
REP         783,451 0.451234
DEM         645,733 0.371914
IND         307,057 0.176852
TOTAL       1,736,241  
     
     
PARTY      EVAB           %
REP       1,275,476 43.3%
DEM       1,149,853 39.0%
IND         521,690 17.7%
TOTAL       2,947,019  

EVAB 1102

*The five laggard counties: Hardee, Polk, Santa Rosa and Union.

November 01, 2014

Nearly 2.8m have voted in FL; GOP ahead 134k, Dems still slightly catching up

@MarcACaputo

Almost 2.8 million Floridians have cast early and absentee ballots so far, and Republican returns are still ahead of Democrats, who have been in slow-motion catchup.

GOP lead over Democrats: 133,521, or 4.8 percentage points as of this morning. Yesterday's lead: 134,910 or 5.3 percent.

While Democrats can rightly boast they're closing the gap, the question lingers: Is it enough? Probably not. Republicans' lead could be cut to less than 4 percentage points by Election Day, according to an extrapolation of the past five days' voting rates. That could be a vote margin of more than 128,000 in Republican's favor. Again this is an extrapolation based on current rates. This analysis is conservative both in its mathematical assumptions and, incidentally, in its political outcome because it shows Republicans doing rather well.

This weekend could easily throw the averages more in Democrats' favor. This is the last weekend of in-person early voting, when Democrats have a chance to flex their more than 455,000-voter advantage. This is the time to see if Souls to the Polls, when African-Americans have flocked to vote after church, will really make a difference. 

Last weekend did relatively little for Democrats. And this weekend, Republicans want to make sure it's a repeat.

One factor in Democrat Charlie Crist's favor, most polls show him winning independents. And no-party-affiliation and third-party voters could make up as much as 18 percent of the pre-Election Day voters. Obviously, we only have polls to guide us because votes won't be tallied until Election Day.

Polls show the race essentially tied. Ask many of Florida's top political minds who's going to win and they say they have no clue. There are so many unknowns and oddities with this race, with two deeply flawed candidates who are basically both incumbents. 

Many are predicting low overall turnout. If we have 2010's 49 percent turnout, about 5.8 million people will vote. So about 47 percent of the vote is already in. Based on current rates, 3.2 million could vote by absentee or early vote ballot, which could be 60 percent of the electorate.

Prior posts on related topics can be found through the Florida Voters tab and here are today's in-person early votes and absentee votes, followed by the totals:

PARTY         EV          %
REP     442,306 40.9%
DEM     449,268 41.6%
IND     189,064 17.5%
TOTAL  1,080,638  
     
     
PARTY         AB's           %
REP 762531 45.6%
DEM 622048 36.9%
IND 295138 17.5%
TOTAL 1679717  
     
     
PARTY      EVAB           %
REP  1,204,837 43.6%
DEM  1,071,316 38.8%
IND     484,202 17.5%
TOTAL  2,760,355  

October 31, 2014

1,800-sample poll: Rick Scott 47 percent; Charlie Crist 44 percent. RX pot in trouble

@MarcACaputo

Gov. Rick Scott is leading Democrat Charlie Crist 47-44 percent in a new poll from Democratic leaning SEA Strategic Polling & Design exclusively obtained by The Miami Herald.

Scott’s 3 percentage-point lead is still no statistically significant because it’s within the 1,800-respondent poll’s error margin. The poll has been conducted in three waves, each of which is larger than many standalone polls (background here and here).

Still, the race is likely still a tie, though this poll indicates it's leaning Scott. Quinnipiac University's poll yesterday found it more Crist-leaning.

Meantime, the Florida medical marijuana initiative appears in trouble. Support is at 55 percent, with 39 percent opposed. It takes 60 percent approval to pass a proposed constitutional amendment such as this.

Scott’s job approval is at 52-44 percent. The poll shows that 50 percent have a favorable impression of him compared to 46 percent who have an unfavorable impression. In comparison, Crist’s fav-unfav: 44-53 percent. President Obama’s: 48-51 percent.

The poll of likely Florida voters screened from a voter list has more Republican respondents than Democrats, 43-41 percent. No-party-affiliation and third-party voters are 16 percent of the poll.

The survey’s screen reflects a relatively typical mid-term election in Florida, where Democrats typically stay home in greater numbers than Republicans. So far, in pre-Election Day voting, Republicans have stayed ahead of Democrats in casting ballots, about 135,000 more as of this morning.

Once change in this final pool compared to the prior two waves: Crist’s lead among independents has almost evaporated. It’s now just 1 percentage point (39-38 percent) over Scott.

Crist also faring more poorly among Democrats (82 percent of whom support him) than Scott is among Republicans (87 percent of whom support the Republican). Scott gets 9 percent Democratic support and Crist 8 percent Republican support.

Obviously, this isn’t good news for Democrats who must now content themselves with the hope that 1) they have a big turnout for early voting on the weekend to cut more deeply into the GOP-ballot margin 2) have a bigger Election Day turnout 3) the poll’s screen of likely voters who have voted in two of the three previous major elections hasn’t picked up a significant number of so-called “sporadic voters” who don’t get through tight likely voter screens.

Joe Biden is Miami bound for Charlie Crist, Joe Garcia

From two press releases:

Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. – Vice President Joe Biden will join Charlie Crist at a "Souls to the Polls" event in Miami on Sunday, November 2 at 2:00 PM. Doors will open to the public at 12:00PM.

This event is OPEN PRESS.

Who: Vice President Biden, Governor Charlie Crist

What: “Souls to the Polls” Rally Event

When: Sunday, November 2, 2:00PM

Where: Mt. Hermon AME Church, 401 NW 7th Terrace, Ft. Lauderdale

RSVP: Press wishing to attend the event must RSVP to press@charliecrist.com by Saturday, November 1 at 12:00 PM ET. Additional press details forthcoming, including pre-set and sweep times.

Tallahassee, FL — On Sunday, November 2 at 10:00 AM, Vice President Joe Biden, Gov. Charlie Crist, nominee for Lt. Governor Annette Taddeo, and Congressman Joe Garcia, and the Latino Victory Project will rally with supporters in Miami.

The candidates will be joined by actor William Levy, Univision host Enrique Santos and Henry Muñoz.

This event will be open to pre-credentialed media only. Reporters who wish to be credentialed must email press@fladems.com with the subject line “Vice President BidenEvent Credentials.” Members of the media who have not been pre-credentialed by 3:00 PM on Saturday will not be admitted into the event. 

The rally will take place at the Wertheim Performing Arts Center on Florida International University’s campus. Doors open at 10:00 AM.

DATE: Sunday, Nov. 2, 2014

LOCATION: Wertheim Performing Arts Center at FIU, 10910 SW 17th Street, Miami

Nearly 2.6m Floridians have voted; GOP ahead of Dems by 135k ballots, but lead still slipping

@MarcACaputo

With four days until Election Day, nearly 2.6 million people have cast in-person early votes and absentee ballots. As in past days, the GOP is holding on to its lead in ballots cast over Democrats, who are nibbling away at the margins.

GOP lead this morning over Democrats: 134,910 or 5.3 percentage points.

Yesterday's GOP lead: 140,123, or 5.9 percentage points.

Prior posts can be found through the Florida Voters link here.

PARTY          EV           %
REP         384,159 41.1%
DEM         390,025 41.7%
IND         161,591 17.3%
TOTAL         935,775  
     
     
PARTY          AB's            %
REP         740,128 45.6%
DEM         599,352 36.9%
IND         283,804 17.5%
TOTAL       1,623,284  
     
     
PARTY       EVAB            %
REP       1,124,287 43.9%
DEM         989,377 38.7%
IND         445,395 17.4%
TOTAL       2,559,059